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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Another Lenten Suggestion

Ah...the senior moment! I began the last post on Lent with a specific suggestion in mind and then forgot to include it. I obviously need to consume more coconut oil (which is supposed to help lubricate the "little grey cells" as Hercule Poirot would say).

My own Lenten reading matter is going to be from one of my favorite authors, G.K. Chesterton. The book, Lent and Easter: Wisdom from G.K. Chesterton, is published by Liguori and available here.

Chesterton is often called the "apostle of common sense." But he is much more than that. His theology is described as the "theology of joy" based on his subthemes of "wonder, gratitude, and appreciation" (from the introduction). To read Chesterton is to be on a romp through life like a little child stopping to smell the flowers, pet a bumble bee, frolick with a puppy, chase a firefly, catch a snowflake on the tongue, and dance in the rain puddles. I love Chesterton because he knows how to argue with the enemies of God without being angry and bitter, takes himself and his brilliance lightly, and is often hilarious without striving to be. He enjoys the good things of life with an absolute sense that God meant it to be that way and without misusing any of them. He loves the ordinary, everyday pleasures of hearth and home, pantry and table. In fact, if I had to guess his genus and species, I would say he embodies all the lovely realities of a hobbit sprinkled with magic fairy dust and practicing a bit of wizardry. Doesn't he, in fact, look like a wizard
in his great cape and hat carrying his walking "stick" which I expect is his wizard's staff?

On each day of Lent, the book offers a quote from Chesterton, a Scripture reference, a short prayer and a suggested action. Tomorrow, Ash Wednesday, offers this Chestertonian nugget for meditation:
The essential difference between Christian and Pagan asceticism lies in the fact that Paganism in renouncing pleasure gives up something which it does not think desirable; whereas Christianity in giving up pleasure gives up something it thinks very desirable indeed. Thus there is a frenzy in Christian asceticism; its follies and renunciations are like those of first love.
Isn't that lovely? Doesn't it ennoble our sacrifices? What, after all, is the nobility of giving up what isn't worth the giving? It is only those wonderful gifts that we voluntarily sacrifice for a time out of love for another that shine with the glow of grace. Do take a look at this lovely book for your Lenten meditation. You can never go wrong with Chesterton's "theology of joy!"


Restore-DC-Catholicism said...

Pet a bumble-bee? I don't think so. I was mowing my lawn once wearing a baggy tee-shirt. One of them got in my shirt and started jabbing away. That was actually quite frightening let alone very painful.

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

My son pets them all the time. They are pretty tame if you don't step on them or get them under your shirt. When they're busy flitting from flower to flower they are pretty tame.